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Tesla, Zoom announce team-up for in-car video conferencing

Tesla and Zoom have announced that they are officially teaming up to bring video conferencing inside Tesla vehicles.

Over the last few years, Tesla has invested heavily in features that are aimed to be useful for the in-car experience when its vehicles become self-driving.

I am talking about in-car video games and Tesla Theater, which integrates streaming apps like Netflix and Hulu directly into the center display of Tesla vehicles.

Until self-driving becomes reality, which has been delayed quite a few times in Tesla’s case, those features are used only when the vehicles are parked, especially when charging.

Now Tesla is going a step further with native apps in a new partnership with Zoom. During its Zoomtopia event yesterday, the video conferencing app announced an official integration with Tesla.

A Zoom spokesperson confirmed the announcement:

I can confirm that the Zoom integration for Tesla will be available on all new Tesla models soon.

The company released a video demonstration of the Zoom app inside Tesla vehicles:

When Tesla launched the Model 3, it equipped the vehicle with a standard cabin-facing camera located in the rearview mirror.

The feature has since made it to all other Tesla vehicles.

For the first three years since Tesla brought the cabin camera to production, the feature remained dormant. Later, Tesla started using it as a driver monitoring tool to help ensure that Autopilot and Self-Driving Beta users were paying attention when using the driver assist features.

Now Tesla is giving access to the camera’s feed to a third party for this Zoom app integration.

The automaker first announced its plan to enable video conferencing inside its vehicles back in 2020 – shortly after the pandemic started and apps like Zoom gained in popularity.

Electrek’s Take

This is one of those things that I hope Tesla is not spending too much time and resources on because it doesn’t actually seem useful. It sounds like it’s just one of those things that the company is doing because it can and it sounds good on paper.

But in practice, you are probably getting a subpar experience compared to just using the Zoom app on your phone or laptop inside your car.

That’s the case with several of those apps inside Tesla vehicles, though Tesla still has the best software of any other automaker by far.

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